Sri Jayewardenepura University Wiki Club
Wiki-club is a student-centred, web-based, collaborative education program to be introduced by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, and to be implemented in collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) centered in the United States of America. WMF is a non-profit, charitable organisation mostly known for its Wikipedia movement and the multilingual host,Wikipedia, and its web-based encyclopedia.The Wikipedia organization owns the domain in raising funds, distributing grants for projects, developing and deploying software, controlling the servers and supporting Wikimedia projects.Since its inception in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the world’s largest reference websites attracting millions of unique visitors.The Wikipedia community has developed many policies and guidelines to improve the encyclopedia. Fundamental principles of Wikipedia are introduced through its five-fold pillar: Contributors are expected to adhere to the five-fold pillar of Wikipedia.
1. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.
2. Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view.
3. Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit and distribute.
4. Wikipedia’s editors should treat each other with respect and civility.
5. Wikipedia adheres to rules and regulations; yet, they are not rigid and firm.
Undoubtedly, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has made commendable gains in undergraduate and postgraduate education during the past few decades, having achieved national recognition to a commendable level and international credit to some extent.Despite such achievements, students can be further equipped with relevant, highly-demanded, diverse and dynamic skills, knowledge and attitudes for employ ability and knowledge economy - an economy in which growth is dependent on the quantity, quality, and accessibility of the information available.Put differently, graduate education is predominantly geared towards high stakes examination, and there are insufficient pathways to be actively engaged in practical, intellectual and critical discussions.For instance, literacy and digital skills, productive critical thinking abilities, and collaborative skills are yet to be enhanced for the students to face the contemporary digitalized world with motivation and confidence.wiki-club will offer the students and the university a powerful opportunity to secure competitive leverage in the contemporary society, for navigating the information age.
Accordingly, the primary intent of the Wiki-club is to provide an online interactive experience that produces valuable educational and social benefits for students to enrich their skills, knowledge and attitudes, moving beyond the traditional “sit, listen, and leave” forums.. Hence, Wiki-club offers students the opportunity to publish their manuscripts online with WMF. Thus, the WIKI CLUB of the university has the following the objectives:
• To provide students with an online space to share knowledge, by submitting manuscripts for publication on Wiki-club.
• To engross online in productively-critical discussions on the shared knowledge.
• To facilitate an environment to enhance students literacy skills and knowledge.
• To improve students soft, social skills and digital skills.
• To promote collaboration and social interaction among students.
Participants become part of an actively engaged community that generates productive ideas, and engross in beneficial discussions.They will also be made themselves visible in the knowledge hub locally and internationally, while being in their comfort zone and being self-motivated. Hence, thorugh the Wiki-club, the participants will be albe to master/enhace:
• Information literacy: participants will be able to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.
• Language skills – participants will be able to enrich their language skills, especially reading, writing and academic writing skills. In this regard, they will be able to practice and master the citation skills, reviewing, editing and respect copyright laws and ethics.
• Collaborative skills – participants will be able to enhance their behaviors that help them work together and function well in the process.
• Critical thinking abilities – participants will be able to discipline intellectually to conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize, information gathered from others, or generated by them.
• Online etiquette: participants will be able to boost social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks, blogs and forums, for instance.
•Online citizenship: Participants will be able to practice and master their online citizenship by being engaged in society, politics, and government productively
Wiki-club will commence with the the pioneer, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, with the intention of expanding it gradually to the other faculties of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in the near future.The foundation stones for the Wiki-club are already laid through a representative team of executive members of WMF and a committee from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the university is also recognized and proposed.
As noted, the key aim of Wiki-club is to provide opportunities for students to enhance their skills, knowledge and attitudes in the digital era of information. It must be noted however, that the medium of expression is not limited to English, but open to Sinhalese and Tamil as well.However, as English language is much demanded to appear online, it is expected that the English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) will play a pivotal role in shaping the writing skills of the students.Upon initial discussions with the ELTU, it is revealed that doors are already open for students to enhance their manuscripts through peer reviews, drafting and editing, for instance.
Further, manuscripts are not limited to subject components followed at the university for academic courses, but expanded to any intellectual topics; politics, media, cinema, cultures, medicine, history, literature, commerce, to name a few.
The proposed governing mechanism consists of the following office bearers.
• Senior Advisers – from academic staff
• Executive Editors – from academic staff
• Senior Treasurer – from academic staff
• President – from students
• Secretary – from students
• Vice President- from students
• Asst. Secretary- from students
• Junior Treasurer – from students
• Junior Editors – from students
• Committee Members – five students from each department
Review and Editing Process
Once a manuscript is submitted, it undergoes an initial screening process carried out by the panel of junior editors to explore the overall, general suitability for the editing process of the manuscript submitted.Then, the proper editing process, which includes three phases, commences. First, the manuscript is assigned to a subject expert editor who, along with one of the executive editors,serves as a contact person for the author.The subject editor reads the manuscript and may propose substantive, structural, and stylistic changes.If necessary, the manuscript, then is returned to the author for his or her review and changes.
The second phase is devoted for checking citations. Editors examine the manuscripts to ensure that all citations are accurate and complete, and to examine if citations properly support the textual propositions.These editors also indicate if and where additional documentation is needed. The executive editor then evaluates the work and examines the body of the article for the purpose of enhancing both style and substance.Any changes affecting the substance or structure of the article will be brought to the attention of the author.
Finally, after the author adheres to the editorial recommendations and revisions, the edited manuscript will be sent to the author for final review.All changes from this point forward will be technical in nature and will be the responsibility of the editors.Accepted papers are generally published or uploaded on Wikipedia web within one month of acceptance.
Proposed Office Bearers from the Academic Staff for the First Term
• Dr. Shirantha Heenkenda - Department of Economics
• Dr. Sujeewa Hettiarachchi - Department of English
• Mr. Sartah Ananda / Head, English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU)
Executive Editors – Dr. Chitra Jayathilake - Department of English Mr. Neranja Bandara – Department of Sinhala
Senior Teasurer – Mr. P.B.S.L Puspakumara -English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU)
- Miss Shohani Upeksha Badullahewage - Deapartment of Economics
- Miss Nelani Costa - Department of English
- Miss Shohani Upeksha Badullahewage - Deapartment of Economics
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
Soft Skills Development Center, Faculty of Humanities and social Science.
Coordinators from the Wikimedia
• Nichole Saad,
Wikipedia Education Program
• Mohammed Galib Hasan,
Education Outreach Volunteer